Gold Coast teenager Ellie Papalexiou has brought the total of Australians in NCAA Division I women’s soccer to 16, signing with University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Ellie becomes the fourth new addition to the Australian contingent, and is also the first new player to join a team that does not already contain an Australian. A left back with NPL Queensland experience at the U/18 level with Palm Beach Football Club, Ellie managed to tally eight goals last season to complement her defensive prowess. Pacific coach Keith Coleman is quoted as being excited to add Ellie to the Tigers’ program as they attempt to improve on last season’s lacklustre 4-12-3 record.
With Pacific playing in the West Coast Conference, Ellie will be afforded the opportunity to play against two of the real heavyweights in college women’s soccer in the form of Portland and Santa Clara. Portland was the college home of players such as Christine Sinclair, Megan Rapinoe, and Tiffeny Milbrett, whilst Santa Clara had two players drafted in the first 12 picks of the 2014 NWSL Draft, including US women’s national team member Julie Johnston. These teams shared the WCC title along with Brigham Young University last season, and strong performances by Ellie against teams such as these could really make people sit up and take notice of the young Queenslander.
Ellie Papalexiou Profile
Hometown: Elanora, Queensland (Gold Coast)
Previous Club: Palm Beach FC (NPL Queensland)